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Gregg Alan Rolie (born June 17, 1947) is an American keyboardist, singer and songwriter. Rolie served as lead singer of the bands Santana and Journey – both of which he co-founded. He also helmed rock group The Storm, performed in Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band until 2021, and since 2001 with his Gregg Rolie Band. Rolie is a two-time inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been inducted both as a member of Santana in 1998 and as a member of Journey in 2017.
|Birth name||Gregg Alan Rolie|
|Born||June 17, 1947|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Rolie was born in Seattle, Washington, United States. Prior to Santana, he played with a group called William Penn and His Pals while attending Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California 1965, his senior year.
In 1966, Rolie joined Carlos Santana and others to form the Santana Blues Band, which was later shortened simply to Santana. As a co-founding member of Santana, Rolie was part of the band's first wave of success, including an appearance at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969 and central roles in several hit albums. He was their original lead vocalist, with his voice appearing on well-known Santana songs such as "Black Magic Woman" (US #4), "Oye Como Va", "No One To Depend On" and "Evil Ways". He also became well known for his skill on the Hammond B3 organ, with solos on many of the aforementioned hits. He has song-writing credits on many tracks from this period. However, persistent differences with Carlos Santana regarding the musical direction of the band led Rolie to leave in 1972.
In 1973 Rolie joined a new band with ex-Santana guitarist Neal Schon. This became Journey. Starring in a lineup that featured Schon, Aynsley Dunbar, George Tickner, and Ross Valory, he was keyboardist for the band's first six albums. On Journey and Look into the Future, he was lead vocalist, and on Next he shared those duties with guitarist Neal Schon. After Steve Perry joined the band in 1977, Rolie sang co-lead vocals on several songs on the albums Infinity, Evolution, and Departure.
After leaving Journey in 1980, Rolie released several solo albums, including the eponymous Gregg Rolie in 1985. This album featured the song "I Wanna Go Back", which later became a hit for Eddie Money, and included contributions from Carlos Santana, Peter Wolf, Neal Schon, and Craig Chaquico. A second solo effort, Gringo, was released in 1987.
Rolie formed The Storm in 1991 with Steve Smith and Ross Valory of Journey. The band also included singer, Kevin Chalfant and guitarist, Josh Ramos. Prior to their inaugural tour in support of their first album, Steve Smith left the band and was replaced by Ron Wikso.
Similar to his work with Santana and Journey, Rolie played keyboards and was a co-lead vocalist on several tracks of the band's first, eponymous, album, which spent 17 weeks on the Billboard albums chart peaking at #133 and spawned the hit singles "I've Got a Lot to Learn About Love," and "Show Me the Way." Despite this success, Interscope Records shelved the band's second album, Eye Off The Storm, which was recorded in 1993. It was finally released in 1996, in Europe, on the Music For Nations label, in 1997, in Japan, on the Avex Trax/Bateknuckle label, and in 1998, in the United States, on the Miramar label.
In 1998, Rolie and other former members of Santana, including Neal Schon, briefly reunited as Abraxas Pool, releasing one album.
When Schon left to lead a re-formed Journey later that year, Rolie and Ron Wikso began work in 1999, on a Gregg Rolie solo CD, titled Roots, which eventually led to the forming of the Gregg Rolie Band. Besides Rolie and Wikso, Roots featured appearances by Neal Schon, Alphonso Johnson, Dave Amato, Adrian Areas, Michael Carabello. The Gregg Rolie Band saw Kurt Griffey taking over guitar duties and the addition of Wally Minko as a second keyboardist. They recorded a live CD at Sturgis called Rain Dance, which was released in 2009.
In 2010, Rolie released Five Days and subsequently formed a duo with Alan Haynes, which eventually led to the formation of the Gregg Rolie Quartet, with the addition of long time collaborator/drummer, Ron Wikso and bassist Evan "Sticky" Lopez.
From 2012 to 2021 he toured as a member of Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band performing Santana hits "Black Magic Woman", "Evil Ways" and "Everybody's Everything". The band also included Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Richard Page, Mark Rivera and Gregg Bissonette.
On February 2, 2013 Carlos Santana confirmed that he would reunite his classic lineup, most of whom played Woodstock with him in 1969. Santana said of Rolie, "I'm pretty sure Gregg's going to do it." Speaking in 2012 of such a reunion, Rolie told Radio.com "it's just a matter of putting it together and going and doing it. I would do it. I think it's a great idea. People would love it. It could be great!" In 2016, as part of Santana's original line-up they released their fourth album, titled Santana IV.
On February 9, 2018, Rolie reunited with Schon for a charity show at San Francisco's The Independent, benefiting North Bay Fire Relief. The group also featured former Journey drummer Deen Castronovo (who also sang some of the vocals) and bassist Marco Mendoza of The Dead Daisies. In 2019 Rolie reunited with Schon, Castronovo and Mendoza for four more concert dates.
Rolie is a proponent of music education for children. In 2005, he signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underserved public schools throughout the US. He sits on the organization's Honorary board of directors.
Personal life Edit
Rolie and his wife, Lori, reside near Austin, Texas.
Solo discography Edit
(Also as Gregg Rolie Band)
- Gregg Rolie – 1985
- Gringo – 1987
- Rough Tracks – 1997
- Roots – 2001
- Rain Dance (Live 2007) – released 2009
- Five Days EP – 2011
- Sonic Ranch - 2019
with Santana Edit
- Santana – 1969
- Abraxas – 1970
- Santana III – 1971
- Caravanserai – 1972
- Shangó – 1982
- Freedom – 1987
- Santana IV - 2016
with Journey Edit
- Journey – 1975
- Look into the Future – 1976
- Next – 1977
- Infinity – 1978
- Evolution – 1979
- Departure – 1980
- Dream, After Dream – 1980
- Captured – 1981
with The Storm Edit
- The Storm – 1991
- Eye of The Storm – 1995
with Abraxas Pool Edit
- Abraxas Pool – 1997
- "William Penn and His Pals | The Historic San Francisco Group". CD Baby. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- NEA ZIXNH (November 4, 2012), Santana - Soul Sacrifice 1969 "Woodstock" Live Video HQ, archived from the original on December 22, 2012, retrieved October 26, 2018
- "Top Album Sales : Page 1". Billboard. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
- "The Storm Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- "The Storm I've Got A Lot To Learn About Love Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Greene, Andy (February 8, 2012). "Ringo Starr Announces New All Starr Band Line-Up, Tour Dates". rollingstone.com. Rolling Stone, LLC. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
- "Gregg Rolie Band - Bio". greggrolie.com. Gregg Rolie Band. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
- Ragogna, Mike (March 18, 2016). "Santana IV: Chatting with Carlos Santana & Gregg Rolie, Plus Zona, Lexi Baker and Ninet Exclusives". huffpost.com. Buzz Feed, Inc. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
- "Journey's Neal Schon On Reuniting With Gregg Rolie For "Neal Schon's Journey Through Time"". The Hype Magazine. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "Neal Schon Goes Deep Into His Past at Solo Benefit Show". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- "Neal Schon's Journey Through Time Adds 2019 Dates".
- "Ringo – Postcards From Paradise". discogs.